Be Golden in Vero Beach
It’s early morning in Vero Beach, and the sun washes the sand a golden hue where the ocean laps ashore. An egret stalks the water’s edge for silvery minnows. Nearby, a human is on the hunt, too, waving a metal detector over the the sand, ever hopeful that this storied place will offer up yet another treasure buried long ago.
FLORIDA’S TREASURE COAST
This is Florida’s Treasure Coast, after all, and the final resting place of the legendary 1715 Fleet—a flotilla of 11 treasure ships that wrecked just offshore in a hurricane while en route from Havana to Spain over three centuries ago. The fleet spilled all manner of jewels, gold doubloons and silver coins. And while professional treasure hunters recovered about $4.5 million in gold coins and treasure in 2015 on the 300th anniversary of the sinking, much of the fleet’s precious cargo still lies hidden on the sea floor. In quaint Vero Beach, located about two hours from Orlando to the west and Miami on Florida’s East Coast, you never know what that glitter in the sand might turn out to be.
SEA TURTLE MAGIC
Vero Beach and the surrounding area are one of the world’s richest nesting grounds for loggerhead sea turtles, and you never know when you’ll see one emerging from the water and hauling itself up onto the sand. Nesting tours to see mothers laying their eggs take off from the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, just north of the famed fishing pier at Sebastian Inlet. or the Sebastian Inlet State Park.
SMALL-TOWN BEACH CULTURE
Cross the bridge to the barrier island and get ready for a Florida beach-town experience unlike any other. Public parking is free, and building height restrictions keep Vero’s development on a decidedly human scale. The low-slung skyline makes it all the more inviting for visitors to spend the day relaxing on the area’s uncrowded beaches. Locals love off-the-beaten-path spots like Turtle Trail Beach and Seagrape Trail, where treasure salvage boats can be seen searching for gold just 20 feet from the shore during the summer.
When it comes to nightlife in the heart of Vero Beach, the perfect evening plays out at a table with ocean views and local seafood specialties like mahi, snapper and cobia. There’s not a chain restaurant in sight on the barrier island; the town’s dining scene caters to a gourmet palate craving locally sourced food. Chef-driven hotspots include Citrus Grillhouse, Ocean Grill, and The Wave, Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s Cuban-inspired restaurant at the stylish Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa.
From sand to city, Vero Beach reveals untold cultural, natural and buried riches at every turn.